Setif The High ?
The capital of High Plains
Location of Setif in the Setif Province
|o Body||People's Municipal Assembly|
|o Mayor||Mohamed Cherif Bourmani|
|o Total||127.30 km2 (49.15 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,100 m (3,600 ft)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||2,300/km2 (5,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|Area code(s)||(+213) 036|
|ISO 3166 code||1901|
Setif (Arabic: ?, Kabyle: S?if), is an Algerian city and the capital of the Sétif Province, it is one of the most important cities of eastern Algeria and the country as a whole, since it is considered the trade capital of the country. It is an inner city, situated in the eastern side of Algeria, at 270 kilometers east of Algiers, at 131 km west of Constantine, in the Hautes Plaines region south of Kabylie. The city is at 1,100 meters of altitude.
Setif was numid before undergoing Roman rule. The name of Setif is not drawn from Latin, but it is a Berber word "Zdif" which means "black lands", referring to the fertility of its lands in Setif. Occupying a strategic position (western gateway to the highlands of Constantine) and a major water point thanks to its water table, located at the foot of the mountains on the threshold of a vast plain, Setif with all its advantages was a point of strategic crossing between the eastern part and the western part of Algeria. Setif was part of the messasylian kingdom and in the year 225 BC it was the capital of a Berber kingdom, a title it lost when Juba preferred Cherchel. It was near Setif that Jugurtha fought a great battle at Caius Marius.
Sétif is the capital of Sétif Province and it has a population of 288,461 inhabitants as of the 2008 census. It is located 270 kilometers east of Algiers, 65 km from Bordj Bou Arreridj and 132 km from Constantine in the Hautes Plaines region south of Kabylia, the city is located 1,096 m (3,596 ft) above sea level, making it the second highest capital of a province in Algeria.
The city lay in the region of the Numidian kingdom of Massaesyles. It was near Sétif that Jugurtha campaigned and lost against Marius in 105 BC. Overcome by Marius, he was taken to Rome where was executed in the prison of Tullianum. No remains of this period have been found. The city was small under the Numidian kings.
Setifis (or Sitifis) was founded by the Romans, during the reign of Nerva (AD 96 to 98), as a colony for veterans. Although no buildings of this period are known, a cemetery excavated in the 1960s seems to have contained tombs from the early colony.
The Romans built a circus at Sitifis, which aerial photographs show survived substantially intact until the 20th century; today only a small part of the curved end continues visible; the remainder has been destroyed or built over. As the town grew, around 297AD, the province of Mauretania Sitifensis was established, with Sitifis as its capital.
When Mauretania Sitifensis was created, at the close of the 3rd century, Sitifis became its capital. In the newly prosperous town a bath building was built, decorated with fine mosaics: its restoration in the fifth century had a cold room (frigidarium) paved with a large mosaic showing the birth of Venus. On the northwest edge of the town two great Christian basilicas were built at the end of the fourth century, decorated, again, with splendid mosaics, and a Bishopric was founded at this time. There was a Jewish community in the area. In the 5th century it suffered from a violent earthquake.
Under the Vandals it was the chief town of a district called Zaba. It was still the capital of a province under Byzantine rule and was then a place of strategic importance. The area came under Byzantine control for a short period which saw the introduction of Orthodox doctrines to the mainly Donatist and Catholic town.
In 531, the king of the Vandals, Hilderic, was overthrown by the usurper Gelimer, giving the Roman emperor of the East Justinian, anxious to restore the Roman Empire, a pretext for intervention. After his departure from Byzantium (Constantinople / Istanbul), General Belisarius took advantage of uprisings in Tripolitania and the Moors, which enabled him to take Carthage (533) and then Gelimer himself (534). The Byzantines found in Sitifis, a small population, because of the vandal predations. In 539, Sitifis again became the capital of a Byzantine "Roman" province: Mauritania Sitifensis. At that time, Solomon built the Byzantine fortress walls, whose west and south walls are still visible.
The city was the base of a Bishopric.Augustine, who had frequent relations with Sitifis, tells us that in his day the Bishopric had a monastery and an episcopal school. Several Christian inscriptions have been found there, one of 452 mentioning the relics of Saint Lawrence, another naming two martyrs of Sitifis, Justus and Decurius.
In 647 AD (the year 27 of the Hegira), the first Muslim expedition to Africa took place. By 700 AD, the area had been conquered and converted to the Islamic faith. We know little of the early Islamic town, but by the tenth century the area outside of the fortress was once more filled with houses: on the site of the Roman baths over twelve of these were excavated, with large courtyards surrounded by long, thin, rooms. After conquering Cairo, the Fatimids abandoned Tunisia and parts of eastern Algeria to the local Zirids (972-1148). The invasion of Ifriqiya by the Banu Hilal, a warlike Arab tribes encouraged by the Fatimids of Egypt to seize North Africa, sent the region's urban and economic life into further decline.
Similar to an army of locusts, they destroy everything in their path.
In the mid-eleventh century this development stopped abruptly, and a defensive wall was built around the city. Nothing more is known of Sétif until the ruins of the town were used by the French army, who built their own fortress on the site in 1848, using the line of the medieval city wall and the Byzantine fortress.
On 8 May 1945, the day of the formal end of World War II in Europe, an uprising against the occupying French forces in Sétif and the nearby towns Guelma and Kherrata resulted in the deaths of 104pieds-noirs. The uprising was suppressed through what is now known as the Sétif massacre. Estimates of Algerian casualties vary widely from 2,000 to 40,000 (see Setif massacre for details).
The local economy deals both with trade and industries. The trade is mainly in grain and livestock from the surrounding region. Locally produced wheat is processed by local factories to produce semolina, couscous and noodles. Other industries are woodworking, manufacture of carpets and metal handicrafts. Zinc is extracted from nearby deposits and there are hydroelectric development to the north. It has become the commercial center of a region where textiles are made, phosphates are mined and cereals grown. Home to the Sétif tramway, this is the first city in Algeria's Kabylia region with a light rail system.
Due to Sétif's location on the High Plateaus at an elevation of 1,096 metres (3,596 ft), it is one of the coldest regions during winter in Algeria. The Wilayah frequently sees an annual snowfall of up to 40 centimetres (16 in). Flash floods are rare but have recently occurred around the spring and fall seasons. The summer is fairly hot where extreme heat waves are common around the month of July where temperatures can sometimes even reach 40 °C (104 °F).
|Climate data for Sétif|
|Record high °C (°F)||21.5
|Average high °C (°F)||10.0
|Average low °C (°F)||1.3
|Record low °C (°F)||-10.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||36.7
|Average snowy days||3||3||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||11|
|Source: Meoweather |
The ES Sétif Soccer Team is one of Algeria's most prestigious top division clubs.